“Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” photography exhibition

The University of Cambridge is a world leading seat of learning and at the heart of each of its thirty one colleges sits a library, the hub that preserves books, manuscripts and documents and which has disseminated knowledge down the generations.  Photographer Sara Rawlinson has turned her lens onto these contemplative places, which are often hidden from public view, in her project “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”.

Corpus Christi College, Parker Library
The Parker Library, Corpus Christi College.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

As well as wider shots of the libraries, Sara particularly likes to concentrate on tiny details of structures and textures such as radiator grilles, bolts, shelving systems and their numbering.  Sara will be showing images from twenty five college libraries at her “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” exhibition which is happening at the Heong Gallery in Downing College from 11 – 17 February.  The exhibition will also feature several rotating pyramidal lecterns designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century and which are being loaned by the Wren Library at Trinity College.

Handles at Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Handles at Emmanuel College Library.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Sara grew up in Minnesota, USA, working throughout her childhood alongside her photographer grandmother in the dark room.  She went on to have a very successful research and academic career, taking a PhD in Seismology and Earth Sciences and subsequently running a Masters degree course in Natural Hazards at the Australian National University.  Throughout her scientific career, Sara continued to take art classes and eventually left the academic world to pursue her love of photography.  She relocated to Cambridge with her husband and young daughter a couple of years ago and now runs a full time fine art photography studio from her home in the city.

Sara Rawlinson at King's College, Cambridge
Sara in King’s College Chapel.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Alongside the “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” project, at the invitation of the Dean of Chapel at King’s College, Sara has been photographing the historic Chapel in a new light with an artist’s eye, capturing images of areas that are hidden from view and tiny details that are often overwhelmed by the grandiosity of the space.  It’s as well that Sara has a head for heights as she’s climbed the tiny stairwell and negotiated the narrow corridors to get on to the Chapel roof and has also, by serendipity, been up in a cherry picker (which was deployed to replace lights in the Chapel), allowing her to take some amazing shots from a lofty perspective.

Old Library, Jesus College, Cambridge
Old Library, Jesus College.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Sara’s work was featured in the national press and online in 2018 as three of her images across both projects were shortlisted for the Historic Photographer of the Year award.  She is a member of Cambridge Open Studios, a community of around five hundred artists, craftspeople and designer-makers working throughout Cambridgeshire.  Last year, she transformed her house into a gallery for the first time to showcase her photography as part of the annual Open Studios event which takes place over weekends in July each year.  This year, Sara is planning to show her work at Open Studios again but this time in the Cellarer’s Chequer in Beche Road, a Grade 2* listed building owned by Cambridge City Council which is on the site of Barnwell Priory and which is rarely open to the public.

Library, Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College Library.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

 

The “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” exhibition at the Heong Gallery will be open from 10.30am – 6pm each day from 11 – 17 February and entry is free.  There will be a Private View on 11 February from 6.30 – 8.30pm which will include readings from Cambridge based poet Michael Brown of poetry he has written in Pembroke College Library.  For more information on the exhibition, on Sara’s work, to register for the Private View and to buy prints, visit http://www.sararawlinson.com

What’s on in Cambridge – February

It may be midwinter out there but there’s still plenty happening in the city!  I’ll add to this listing as the month unfurls so please do get in touch if you know of an event that could be included.

Snowdrops at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Snowdrops at the Botanic Garden

2nd    10am – 1pm  Family Saturday – Prehistoric Plants.  Find out about the plants that were around at the time of the dinosaurs and make your own plant fossil to take home.  Botanic Garden.  Free event.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk  Read more about the Botanic Garden here

2nd    2 – 4pm  Family First Saturday.  Art activities on the theme of Chinese New Year, in collaboration with Cambridge China Centre.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  Free event.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

2nd    7.30pm  Impromptu Shakespeare.  A semi-regular meet up for Shakespeare lovers to explore their theatrical side.  Salisbury Arms, Tenison Road.  http://www.facebook.com/groups/impromptushakespeare or email shakespearereadthrough@gmail.com  Read more about this Shakespeare group here

3rd    7.30pm  “Romantic Russia” concert.  Sampson Orchestra.  Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Gliere.  West Road Concert Hall.  Tickets bought from Cam Sight will be donated to the charity.  http://www.camsight.org.uk  Read more about Cam Sight here

4th    7pm  Curry Night, raising money for Cam Sight.  Prana, Mill Road  http://www.camsight.org.uk  Read more about Cam Sight here

7 – 9th    7.45pm  The Mikado.  Cambridge University G & S Society.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

9th    2 – 5.30pm  An Introduction to Nature Poetry.  Study day with Cambridge scholars Paul Chirico and Oliver Goldstein.  How does 19th century poetry speak to us now, in a time of climate change?  Stapleford Granary CB22.  http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/nature/  Read more about Literature Cambridge here

9 – 10th    11am – 4pm  Rowan “Cambridge Seen” Art Exhibition and sale.  Works created by local artists, on sale at £45 each, raising funds to help Rowan’s student artists lead a more fulfilled life.  Long Road Sixth Form College, CB2  http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk  Read more about Rowan here

11 – 17th    10.30am – 6pm “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”, a pop-up exhibition by photographer, Sara Rawlinson.  Heong Gallery, Downing College.  http://www.sararawlinson.com  Read more about Sara and her work here and here

13th    7.30pm  Spanglish Speed Dating – Valentine Special.  The Emperor Tapas pub, Hills Road.  Facebook: @SpanishCentreUK

13th    7.30pm  An Evening with Preti Taneja, author of “We That Are Young”, a dazzling re-writing of King Lear, set in modern India.  Stapleford Granary, CB22.  http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/taneja/   Read more about Literature Cambridge here

15 – 17th    Ahbab Festival, celebrating Middle Eastern and North African culture in music, film and food.  Cambridge Junction.  http://www.junction.co.uk

15 – 16th    Sat noon – 6pm/Sun 10am – 5pm  Cambridge Book Fair.  85 booksellers and refreshment by Indigo Cafe.  The Guildhall, Market Square.  http://www.pbfa.org

16th    11am – 5pm  Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Festival, “Affecting Every Existence”.  Fisher’s Building, St John’s College.  Facebook: @CambridgeClimateForum

16th    8pm  Stravinsky “The Rite of Spring” and Rachmaninov “Symphonic Dances”.  Cambridge University Orchestra.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

20th    4.30 – 7.30pm  Twilight at the Museums.  Explore 14 local museums and collections after dark.  Free, drop in event with activities and themed trails across the venues.  http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk

21st    6.30 – 8.30pm  Cam Late: Botanic Nights.  An evening in the Glasshouse Range with craft beer and atmospheric light displays.  Over 18’s only.  Botanic Garden.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk  Read more about the Botanic Garden here

26th    7.30pm  Academy of Ancient Music, Lucie Horsch with Richard Egarr.  Vivaldi and Bach.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/tickets

Glasshouse at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Glasshouse at the Botanic Garden

 

A Winter Day at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Now I’ll admit that at this time of year, I have an overwhelming urge to hibernate until Spring arrives.  But one bright, sunshiney, blue sky day last week, conscious of my dwindling Vitamin D levels and general seasonal pallor, I wrapped up warm and headed to the Botanic Garden which has to be my favourite green space in the city.  Home to one of the region’s largest tree collections, it’s a magical place in every season, even – and maybe especially – in Winter.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Snowdrops are one of my favourite flowers and it always makes me smile when I come across their cheerful white blooms in midwinter.  You’ll find around 30 different varieties of snowdrop dotted through the Garden and there’s a map to show you the snowdrop “hot spots”.  These little white flowers look so delicate and yet they are so strong; they have anti-freeze proteins to inhibit ice crystals forming and causing damage to the plant plus they have seriously hard leaf tips which help them to break through frozen soil.  This drift of snowdrops under Isaac Newton’s apple tree is just beautiful and reminds me that Spring must surely be around the corner.

Snowdrops at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

The Winter Garden is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and is stunning with textures of coloured stems, bark and foliage alongside winter flowers and scented blossom, all highlighted in the brilliant sunshine.  I find wandering through this space is restorative in itself but to get to grips with more detail of the planting, I’ll sign up for a free 60 minute tour of the Winter Garden, which happens at 2.30pm every Sunday in January and February.

Winter Garden at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Crazy Cone Caper at Cambridge University Botanic GardenThe Botanic Garden runs a terrific range of events for all ages year round.  Children will love the Crazy Cone Caper, a self guided family trail where they become a secret agent and track down six trees in the Garden to solve a mystery, collecting a prize once they’ve successfully concluded their investigation.  Crazy Cone Caper has been created by the Garden’s Learning Team and runs until 1 April.

For adults, Cam Late in the Glasshouse Range on 21 February offers craft beer, mulled wine and atmospheric light displays in these amazing glasshouses, where you’ll find plants ranging from tiny alpines to spiny cacti to exotic tropicals.  Day or night, the glasshouses are spectacular whatever the time of year.  And they’re also nice and warm if you get chilly outside on a cold day!

Glasshouse at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

With my appetite sharpened by the fresh air, I popped in to the light, airy Garden Cafe for lunch.  Its menu of home made goodies includes warming soup, delicious cakes and children’s meals.  Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are always available.  High chairs, baby changing facilities and a selection of children’s books to borrow make this this a truly family friendly spot.

Winter Garden at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

For more information on Cambridge University Botanic Garden including their 2019 programme of courses and workshops as well as details of special events planned for the February half term break, take a look at the website.

http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

 

WONDER Take-over: New You and Dry January Cambridge

As we pack away the Christmas decorations and Dry January rolls around, there’s a new way to party in the city.  “WONDER Take-over: New You and Dry January” is happening on Saturday 26 January at Cambridge University Centre on Granta Place, running from 2pm until late.  This sober social is an event for everyone and revolves around good feelings rather than alcohol.

Wonder Take-over Cambridge
Image credit: Charlie Snape

Created by friends Lisa Pollitt and Suzie Young, “WONDER Take-over” reflects a cultural shift and the fact that many people are now more mindful of their drinking habits or are avoiding alcohol for a multitude of reasons.  Lisa and Suzie are both busy working mothers.  They’re conscious of the choices they make about what goes into their bodies and whilst not teetotal, they both have periods of abstaining from alcohol.  “We’ve witnessed unhealthy relationships with alcohol and we want to model something different for our kids,” Lisa tells me.

Inspired by the endorphin high they experienced at a 5 Rhythms dance class, Lisa and Suzie wanted to get that feeling again on a night out but when they couldn’t find an event without alcohol, they decided to set one up themselves from scratch, starting with a day event last July and following up with “Winter WONDER: The Alternative Christmas Party” in December.

Wonder Take-over Cambridge
Image credit:  Charlie Snape

So what can you expect from “WONDER Take-over”?  A plethora of happenings designed to trigger your happy neurochemicals, raise your oxytocin levels and give you a natural buzz.  There’ll be plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and mocktails with a vegan menu served up by Meatless street food van.  Daytime workshops include Uplifting Joy Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Gong Bath.  The evening kicks off with quick witted comedy from Cambridge Improv Factory, uplifting club classics, disco, house, funk and soul from DJs Paul Darking, MissChivers and Luna Love, immersive theatre sessions and dancefloor massages.

Wonder Take over Cambridge
Image credit:  Suzie Young

With an enthusiastic fan base of happy partygoers aged from 17 – 74, Lisa and Suzie have plans for more WONDER Festival events in Cambridge and possibly beyond.  For details of “WONDER Take-over: New You and Dry January” and to book tickets, check out the website.

www.wonderfestival.co.uk

This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the January issue of Velvet Magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

What’s on in Cambridge – January

Well, a new year has dawned and at the time of writing, things are pretty quiet in the city as life slowly resumes after the festive break.  Here’s the listing for January and I’ll add to it as I discover more events – please do get in touch if you are involved in something that could be included.

Snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey
Snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey

5th    10am – 1pm  Family Saturday – Crazy Cone Creations.  Use twigs, paint and wire to make crazy cone works of art.  Botanic Garden.  Free event.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

5th    2 – 4pm  Family First Saturday.  Fun activities and art making for all the family on the theme “Start with Art”.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  Free, drop in.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

6th    12 noon – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Kettle’s Yard.  Free, drop in.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk  Read more about Kettle’s Yard here

7th    7.30pm  A Georgian Christmas Wassail with Chela and Buska, the Cambridge Georgian choirs.  Jesus College Chapel.  Free entry.  Reserve seats at chelatickets@gmail.com

8th    Whistler & Nature exhibition opens, running until 17th March.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

14th    7.45pm  Light to the World – Experiences of a Veterinary Opthalmologist.  Speaker:  Dr David Williams, Dept of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.  Part of the monthly Science meets Faith series.  Wesley Church, Christ’s Pieces.

16 – 19th    My Fair Lady.  Cambridge Operatic Society.  Cambridge Arts Theatre.  http://www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

17th   8pm  Tori Freestone Trio.  Cambridge Modern Jazz.  Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane.  http://www.cambridgejazz.org

19th    2pm  The Big Sing 2019.  Faure Requiem.  Join The New Cambridge Singers and hundreds of other singers.  Rehearsal 2 – 4.30pm, performance 6pm.  Great St Mary’s Church.  http://www.newcambridgesingers.org.uk

19th    7.30pm  Sinfonia Cambridge.  Tchaikovsky, Humperdinck, Brahms.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

19th    8pm  War Requiem, Britten.  Choirs of Clare, Jesus, Selwyn and Trinity Colleges with choristers of Jesus and St Catherine’s College choirs and Cambridge University Chamber Choir.  King’s College Chapel.  Tickets from shop.kings.cam.ac.uk or on the door.

20th    12 noon – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Kettle’s Yard.  Free, drop in.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk  Read more about Kettle’s Yard here

21 – 27th    10am – 5pm  Cambridge Winter Exhibition.  Islamic art, culture, heritage and civilisation.  Cambridge Library, 3rd Floor, Lion Yard.

24th    7.30pm  Poetry at the Pub.  Six published and prize winning local poets read their work, open mic floor spots and books for sale.  The Blue Moon pub, Norfolk Street, CB1.  http://www.cb1poetry.org.uk

24th    7.30pm  An Evening with Sophie Hannah, presented by Literature Cambridge.  Stapleford Granary, CB22.   www.staplefordgranary.org.uk  Read more about Literature Cambridge here

25th    8pm  Burns Night Ceilidh in aid of Friends of Freetown.  Emmanuel URC Church, CB2.  Tickets on the door or from http://www.friendsoffreetown.org.uk/burnsnight

26th    2pm  WONDER New You sober social.  Yoga and Gong Bath, alcohol free drinks, vegan food, comedy and music.  Cambridge University Centre, Granta Place.  http://www.wonderfestival.co.uk  Read more about WONDER here

26th    2pm and 4pm  The Mouse Who Jumped.  A musical adventure for adults and children.  Family concert suitable for age 5+.  Come dressed as a Carnival Creature! Cambridge Philharmonic.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.cambridgephilharmonic.com

27th    10.30am – 4pm  Cambridge Vegan Market.  Vegan food and drinks, ethical clothing and charities plus ethically produced cosmetics.  The Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.veganmarkets.co.uk/cambridge  Read more about last year’s Vegan Market here

27th    3 – 4.30pm  Holocaust Memorial Day Civic Ceremony Cambridge 2019, “Torn from Home”.  Great St Mary’s Church.  http://www.creatingmycambridge.com/events

30th    6 – 9pm  Zoology Late: Winter Escape!  Arts and crafts, the science of animal migration and cocktails.  Museum of Zoology, Downing Street.  Age 18+.  Free, no need to book.  http://www.museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk/events

Paperwhites in my kitchen
Paperwhites in my kitchen

 

Merry Christmas from New in Cambridge!!

Christmas wreath
Christmas wreath on my front door

Well I can hardly believe that 2018 has gone so fast and Christmas is nearly here.  I’ll be taking a break until the New Year but to the people who have been so much part of the blog and its success during its first full year of existence, I just wanted to say thank you …..

….. to everybody who has read, liked, shared, got in touch and commented on posts.  I love writing about what’s new in this city and I love hearing from you too.  Many thousands of people from 73 (yes, 73!!) countries have tuned in to the blog this year and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my words

….. to everybody who’s given me their time as I’ve interviewed them.  This city is full of interesting people doing amazing things.  It’s a privilege to have met you all and to tell your stories

…..  to Alice for inviting me to take New in Cambridge to Velvet Magazine as a monthly column.  It’s a great thing to see my words in print and to reach a whole new audience

….. to Lucy and Jack for your technical support.  Without you, the blog would look very dull indeed!

….. to my family and friends for their support and encouragement and for being my sounding boards

Wishing everybody a very happy Christmas!  See you in the New Year!!

Mistletoe from Cambridge Market
Mistletoe from Cambridge Market

 

 

Christmas shopping in Cambridge

Cambridge is a wonderful city for Christmas shopping with so many beautiful independent shops alongside the big chains.  Here’s the low down on where I’ll be shopping this Christmas ….

cracker kit cutout
Image credit: Cambridge Imprint

….. Cambridge Imprint for beautiful Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift tags, paper chain kits and their brilliant Christmas cracker kit which comes with everything you need to make superb personalised crackers.  Just add in your own little gift and a joke (cue pained groans from my nearest and dearest!).  And you end up with a gorgeous box to keep for yourself.

www.cambridgeimprint.co.uk

Radmore shopfront
Image credit: Radmore Farm Shop

…… Radmore Farm Shop for Christmas meats, game, free range turkeys, cockerels, geese and all the trimmings from hand made sausages to home cooked ham plus Vicky’s scrumptious Christmas cakes and mince pies.  Choose your Christmas tree from the selection of top quality Nordmann Firs (which won’t drop their needles) and, even better, Ben will deliver said tree to your door.

www.radmorefarmshop.co.uk

Cambridge Cheese Company Christmas window
Image credit: Cambridge Cheese Company

…..  Cambridge Cheese Company for classic Stilton, local Cambridge Blue and beautifully kept cheeses from all over Europe.  Seasonal specials that they’ve been quietly maturing in their cellar include Gumburner (an old, very strong cheddar) and Dragon Slayer (a hard, sharp cow’s cheese).  You’ll also find panettone studded with marrons glaces, panforte, stollen, nutty toronne and plenty more Christmas deliciousness here.

www.cambridgecheese.com

Holly wreath
Holly wreath from Cambridge Market

…..  Cambridge Market for armfuls of holly and mistletoe to deck the halls, holly wreaths (lovely just as they are or add some bling with your own decorations), fresh fruit and vegetables.  At award-winning All Saint’s Garden Art and Craft Market, you’ll find a wide variety of local artists and crafts people selling hand made jewellery, ceramics and much more.  Perfect for winkling out original gifts.

www.visitcambridge.org/shopping/markets

Mistletoe from Cambridge Market
Mistletoe from Cambridge Market

This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the December issue of Velvet Magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk